From the Archives: Fact or Fiction 2013

Today, we will clear up some fact or fiction stories from the past with the truth about what really happened. Do you think the following stories are true?

  • Firemen’s poles have been banned on health and safety grounds
  • A local authority ordered the removal of St Georges’ flags from outside shops on safety grounds
  • Trapeze artists will be forced to wear hard hats
  • A church had to spend £1,300 to change their light bulbs because of health and safety regulations
  • A fancy dress festival in Wales was cancelled because the organisers were told they would have to employ an extra 60 stewards on health and safety grounds.

Why Let The Facts Distort A Good Story?

Fire Poles – Fiction

This seems to have arisen from a case in Devon where it was reported that, to avoid the risk of injury when sliding down poles, a new fire station had not been equipped with a traditional pole because there was not enough space for it.

Flags – Fiction

This story originated in Liverpool, the council did not ban St Georges’ flags or ask anyone to remove them. It did require one shopkeeper to properly secure flags after one fell onto the windscreen of a car causing an accident.

Trapeze Artists – Fiction

The Work at Height Regulations are claimed to require trapeze artists to wear hard hats. This is of course complete nonsense. Just to remind you that hard hats do not to protect you if you fall and as such would be inappropriate for trapeze artists, but could be quite interesting to see them try to keep them on.

Changing a light bulb – Partially True

The church in question was St Benet’s in Norfolk. It was reported that because of new health and safety regulations electricians now had to put up scaffolding every time they wanted to change a bulb. In actual fact the electricians were not just changing light bulbs but replacing all the light fittings. The contractor said that the use of scaffolding was standard practice and nothing to do with any new regulations.

Fancy Dress – Fiction

This relates to the Lleni fancy dress festival in Powys where the organisers simply misunderstood the regulations. There is no health and safety requirement for the organisers of events such as this to employ stewards. They could quite easily have used volunteers as they had in the past.

You can read other blogs from Cambridge Safety for more interesting stories, health and safety tips and general news in the industry.

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